Even as one of the more optimistic Chelsea fans, I would never have predicted the sort of performance that we put in at Selhurst Park. Considering how disastrous our away performances have been this season, I was expecting a draw at most. Instead, Chelsea finally showed why they wear the gold badge of champions, with a 3-0 win.
This was the sort of performance that I knew we were capable of; we just had too many players out of form, or simply not interested. This was the first time this season that I have seen all of Diego Costa, Cesc Fabregas and Oscar perform at their best simultaneously, and at the spine of Chelsea’s team, their performances are key to the side playing well.
This couldn’t be shown any better than the first goal. A good ball by Fabregas in behind to Costa, who showed excellent composure to set up Oscar to score. This is the sort of football that we played when we won the title. If we can keep playing this standard of football, there is no reason why we can’t finish in the top six.
If the first goal was all about teamwork, the second was a moment of individual brilliance. Willian has been our best player by a country mile this season, and his spectacular strike into the top corner from just outside the box was probably his best of the campaign. Despite his goal, it was good to see Chelsea not solely relying on the Brazilian to come up with a moment of magic to win the points.
It was good to see Diego Costa get a goal, even if it was thanks to a mistake from Wayne Hennessey. Since the arrival of Guus Hiddink, Costa has began to finally get himself into goal scoring positions, something he wasn’t doing in the early part of the season. This is the first time in 12 months that he has found the form that he was in at the beginning of his Chelsea career.
I was pleasantly surprised to see John Obi Mikel put in an excellent performance in midfield. In the past, Mikel has been used mainly as a substitute or to help play for a draw in bigger away matches. Unfortunately I can’t see him keeping up this performance level for the rest of the season, so we need Nemanja Matic to find top form again.
I must say, every time I see Kurt Zouma play, he impresses me even more. His tackle on Wilfried Zaha in the first-half was fantastic and he is looking like an increasingly important part of this Chelsea side. He still has work to do on his positional play, but he is turning into a world-class centre back.
If Chelsea can use the good start under Guus Hiddink as a good base to build on, we are capable of finishing in the top six, especially with so many sides in the league faltering.